SHAWNEE, OK – The Potawatomi Fire clinched their spot in the Central Conference Finals with a 146-126 win over the Wichita Skykings on Saturday night.

The Fire got off to a strong start, scoring the first six points of the game. From there, the Fire never looked back and never trailed. The Fire did hit a few bumps in the road in the second quarter. Chuck Guy found himself in some foul trouble with three fouls, forcing him to sit the last 9:31 of the second quarter. But the Fire were able to weather that storm and extended the lead to 14 (69-14) at the half.

“I was proud of the way the guys fought tonight,” said Fire head coach Mark Dannhoff. “We had to deal with adversity in the first half but in the second half I felt like we were able play better basketball. This wasn’t an easy win, and Wichita deserves a lot of credit, but I was proud of the way the guys fought to get this win.”

After scoring just nine points in the first half due to foul trouble, Guy finished as the Fire’s leading scorer with 33 points. He also had 12 assists for his ninth double-double of the year. Along with the 33 points and 12 boards, Guy finished with four rebounds, one block, and one steal. K.D. Moore finished with 30 points, seven assists, two rebounds, and one steal.

“Chuck had a hard first half but bounced back in the second half like we knew he would,” said Dannhoff. “He is such a good player and leader. I was very happy to see him bounce back and have a great second half. With K.D., it’s so good to have him back. He’s such an important player for us and is so versatile. He’s worked really hard this year and he’s some great results from that hard work.”

Two Fire players were also part of history on Saturday. Deshawn Munson broke his own record for rebounds in a single game, finishing with 25. He also had 12 points and nine rebounds as he recorded his seventh double-double of the year. Ricky Artis II was also a part of history as he tied the Fire record for most field goals made in a game without a miss (8-8). Artis II finished the night with 21 points, one rebounds, and one steal.

“Munson has really been rounding back into that player we are used to him being,” said Dannhoff. “He’s getting aggressive on offense and rebounding really well. And Ricky just brings so much energy to this team. He can do it on both ends of the floor and always boosts the team’s energy when he’s on the floor.”

Other players finishing in double figures for the Fire were Ruston Hayward (10 points, three rebounds, and three assists), Jachai Simmons (13 points, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks), and Isaiah Wade (13 points and eight rebounds.)

A full box score is available here.

With the win, the Fire swept the Central Conference Semifinals 2-0 and eliminated the Skykings in the process. Up next, the Fire will take on either the Texas 7ers or Enid Outlaws in the Central Conference Finals. That series will likely begin on Thursday. More information will be released once the Fire’s opponent is determined. You can watch a live stream of the playoff games on TBL TV or listen to the games on KGFF Radio (100.9 FM/1450 AM/

Be sure to follow the Fire on social media (InstagramFacebookX) to stay up to date with all the latest information on the Fire.

The Potawatomi Fire are the first professional basketball team owned by a Native American tribe (Citizen Potawatomi Nation) in Oklahoma. The Fire compete in the Central Conference of The Basketball League (TBL), a men’s professional basketball league, now with 38 teams across the U.S. and Canada. Along with winning the TBL championship in 2023, the Fire organization was named the 2022 winner of the Jim Koch Award as TBL’s Best Ran Business. The dance team of the Fire, the Fire Girls, were named TBL’s 2022 Best Dance Team and Central Conference Best Dance Team in 2023.

The TBL season begins in February and runs through June, concluding with a championship playoff tournament. The players that make up the rosters of the TBL teams are former NCAA (Division I, II or III) or NAIA athletes. Many have played in the NBA’s developmental G-League and/or professionally overseas.

Story by Chris Cox / Photos by Kent Bush